UAE Cel­e­brates 46 Years of Great Achieve­ments

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

The monthly PMI through the third quar­ter of the year re­sulted in the strong­est quar­terly ex­pan­sion of the non-oil econ­omy over a two-year pe­riod.

The Oc­to­ber fig­ure was un­der­pinned by faster out­put growth, an ex­pan­sion in new or­ders and new ex­port or­ders, while em­ploy­ment growth con­tin­ued, mark­ing 18 months of con­tin­u­ous job cre­ation. On the price side, in­put price in­fla­tion was sub­dued, while out­put prices fell for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive month on the back of in­tense com­pe­ti­tion.

Fo­cus Eco­nomics Con­sen­sus Fore­cast par­tic­i­pants ex­pect the UAE’s GDP to grow by 3.2 per­cent in 2018 and 3.4 per­cent in 2019, with fixed in­vest­ment in­creas­ing by 3.7 per­cent in 2018 and 4.3 per­cent in 2019.

De­spite the pres­sures, the Cen­tral Bank recorded a three­month rise in bank de­posits in the third quar­ter, another in­di­ca­tion of the im­proved health of the econ­omy.

Ef­fec­tive Oc­to­ber 1st 2017, the UAE marked the be­gin­ning of a new era in its his­tory, as it started im­ple­ment­ing the Ex­cise Tax, ex­actly three months ahead of the launch of Value-Added Tax, VAT, another land­mark re­gion-wide tax ini­tia­tive.

“As Pres­i­dent His High­ness Sheikh Khal­ifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is­sues Fed­eral De­cree-Law No. 07 of 2017 on Ex­cise Tax, the UAE takes a great leap for­ward,” H.H. Sheikh Ham­dan bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Chair­man of the Fed­eral Tax Au­thor­ity, FTA, was recorded as say­ing. “We are mak­ing re­mark­able progress in our plans to es­tab­lish a sound leg­isla­tive in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port the UAE’s tax sys- tem and make sure it meets and ex­ceeds in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices.”

The step is ex­pected to di­ver­sify Gov­ern­ment eco­nomic streams, strength­en­ing the econ­omy and en­sur­ing sus­tain­abil­ity, he noted.

“The Ex­cise Tax, in par­tic­u­lar, will help us build a health­ier and safer so­ci­ety,” Sheikh Ham­dan said. “This tax is set to dis­cour­age the con­sump­tion of prod­ucts that neg­a­tively im­pact the en­vi­ron­ment and, more im­por­tantly, peo­ple’s health, while the rev­enues it gen­er­ates will go to­wards sup­port­ing ad­vanced ser­vices for all mem­bers of so­ci­ety.”

The new leg­is­la­tion re­quires Ex­cise Tax to be im­posed on cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties around spe­cific “Ex­cise Goods”, ac­tiv­i­ties such as the pro­duc­tion or im­por­ta­tion of Ex­cise Goods in the UAE, as well as the stock­pil­ing of Ex­cise Goods in the UAE, where these ac­tiv­i­ties are in the course of do­ing busi­ness.

Ini­tial es­ti­mates sug­gest that the tax will gen­er­ate up to around AED7 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enues for the Fed­eral Bud­get.

On-line reg­is­tra­tion for ValueAdded Tax pur­poses for busi­nesses be­gan in Septem­ber.

In the key oil and gas sec­tor of the econ­omy, the most sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment of the year was the an­nounce­ment that the Abu Dhabi Na­tional Oil Com­pany, AD­NOC, was to list a mi­nor­ity stake in its sub­sidiary, AD­NOC Distri­bu­tion, on the Abu Dhabi Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change.

An­nounc­ing the step at the 2017 Abu Dhabi In­ter­na­tional Petroleum Ex­hi­bi­tion and Con­fer­ence, ADIPEC, in early Novem­ber, Dr. Sul­tan bin Ah­mad Sul­tan Al Jaber, Min­is­ter of State and CEO of the AD­NOC Group, said that, “The planned IPO, to be listed on the Abu Dhabi Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change, will of­fer both UAE and in­ter­na­tional in­vestors an un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity to in­vest along­side AD­NOC in one of the re­gion’s lead­ing re­tail brands.”

AD­NOC, which un­der­went a ma­jor re-struc­tur­ing and re-brand­ing ex­er­cise dur­ing the year, will con­tinue to re­main wholly owned by the Gov­ern­ment of Abu Dhabi.

At an in­ter­na­tional level, the UAE has con­tin­ued to per­form well against its com­peti­tors. In the lat­est World Com­pet­i­tive­ness Rank­ing of 63 coun­tries by the IMD World Com­pet­i­tive­ness Cen­tre, is­sued in May 2017, the UAE rose to 10th place, mak­ing it the only Arab coun­try to find a place among the su­per league of the global top na­tions.

In the most re­cent edi­tion of the Global Com­pet­i­tive­ness Re­port 2017-2018, is­sued by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, the UAE topped the Arab world and ranked 17th glob­ally in the global com­pet­i­tive­ness rank­ing. The re­port also ranked the UAE among the top 20 com­pet­i­tive economies glob­ally for the fifth con­sec­u­tive year. The coun­try also main­tained its rank­ing to be among the world’s most sig­nif­i­cant in­no­va­tion-based economies for the 11th suc­ces­sive year.

For­eign Pol­icy

UAE For­eign Pol­icy: Fos­ter­ing de­vel­op­ment, com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism

The year 2017 saw the United Arab Emi­rates steadily pro­gress­ing on its path to achieve its po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, so­cial and cul­tural goals, as en­vi­sioned by the wise lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent His High­ness Sheikh Khal­ifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Pres­i­dent, Prime Min­is­ter and Ruler of Dubai, His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum and His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Com­man­der of the UAE Armed Forces.

The UAE has strength­ened its po­si­tion as a global soft power, thanks to its proac­tive and unique pro­grammes for hu­man­i­tar­ian and de­vel­op­ment aid across the world, and its on­go­ing ini­tia­tive to strengthen re­la­tions and to step-up co­op­er­a­tion with all coun­tries across the globe.

The UAE’s for­eign pol­icy is founded on sev­eral pil­lars, in­clud­ing good neigh­bourli­ness, un­der­stand­ing, and non-in­ter­fer­ence in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of other states, as well as the am­i­ca­ble res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes. The fruits of this pol­icy in­clude mu­tual open­ness be­tween the UAE and the world, and strate­gic part­ner­ships on the po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, trade, cul­tural, sci­en­tific, ed­u­ca­tional and health lev­els and con­sol­i­dat­ing the prom­i­nent po­si­tion the coun­try has gained in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

In 2017, the UAE has con­tin­ued to use in­ter­na­tional plat­forms, in­clud­ing the United Na­tions and its dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions, to rally the sup­port of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for its ef­forts aimed at end­ing the Ira­nian oc­cu­pa­tion of the three Emi­rati is­lands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa. The UAE adopts a steady ap­proach in af­firm­ing its le­git­i­mate right to sovereignty over the three is­lands, while re­new­ing the coun­try’s de­mands to solve this is­sue by peace­ful means, through di­rect bi­lat­eral di­a­logue or the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice.

On the hu­man rights front, the UAE con­tin­ues with de­ter­mi­na­tion to make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence at a global level by work­ing con­struc­tively to sup­port the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the prin­ci­ples of the Univer­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights.

The UAE has a proac­tive ap­proach to hu­man rights, which is re­flected in the sig­nif­i­cant progress in im­prov­ing and ex­pand­ing labour reg­u­la­tions and hu­man traf­fick­ing laws, women’s rights, pro­tec­tion of chil­dren, rights of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, and pro­mo­tion of equal­ity.

One of the most pow­er­ful tools of UAE’s for­eign pol­icy is that of over­seas as­sis­tance. The coun­try’s agenda for in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, di­rected by the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion, in­cludes four main el­e­ments: ef­fec­tive for­eign as­sis­tance that re­flects UAE val­ues and en­hances the UAE’s rep­u­ta­tion, tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion to en­hance the im­pact of for­eign as­sis­tance, ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the work of mul­ti­lat­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions, and In­ter­na­tional ini­tia­tives and events launched in the UAE.

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